Godwin Obaseki: Charlatan Or Charmer (1)
By Erasmus Ikhide
Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s ghostbuster-general and Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s train-bearer-in-chief, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has been demonstrating how unconfident, unqualified and unintelligent a governorship aspirant; expecially one hashed on a demobilized political space can be! It’s so disorienting at best and at worst, repulsive to read of governorship aspirant in this time and space who lacks basic knowledge of national configuration as it relates to constitutionally settled matter in the Exclusive, Concurrent and Residual lists.
Except for lack of conscious attention, I have, for the umpteen times, read or heard Mr. Godwin Obaseki, one of the September 10th Governorship contenders goofed about state-craft should he succeed the twitterpated governor of Edo State. Mr. Obaseki’s attempts at the soapbox in recent times come with mis feelings, in all instances.
Earlier, Obaseki’s lame exposition on the Benin historical facts was a miscarriage as much as political naivety. He granted two separate interviews in two national newspapers where he chided the Benin dynasty for not taking his grandfather’s counsel. In the other interview, he revealed his near emptiness; absent mindedness, vague platitudes and sheer insolence.
Up till this moment, Mr. Obaseki has not refuted his earlier assertion “that when the British entered Benin Kingdom and attempted to do ‘business’ with Benin, his grandfather advised the then Oba of Benin, Oba Ovonramwen N’ogbaisi, to sign a treaty with the foreigners. He is yet to perforate all available evidence which suggest that the British did not intend to do business with any of their eventual colonies, rather they were on a colonial mission as they did also with Jaja, Nana, Attahiru and Kosoko, among others.
In another interview Mr. Obaseki was quoted to have said, “my area of specialisation is (Capitalism). I was born into Capitalist system and it is also the system of governance of Edo State people right from time immemorial and I don’t know when socialism entered the system”. Edo electorate are waiting patiently for him to come clean on ‘how, when and where was the Capitalist system he was born into’.
Not done yet, Mr. Obaseki disclosed thus: “But, in the mean-time, we also had the benefit of the experience of Comrade Oshiomhole on how to execute transactions, policies and projects even when the super structure of governance is broken down. So, we had to build roads, whether we had qualified engineers to help us to design roads in the Ministry of Works or not. We had to get our bills of quantity right for our schools and our government buildings; we had to procure the services of consultants to help us understand the lay of the land of our environment to do the mapping to determine what we needed to do before we build roads”.
This is the first time I am hearing that pieces of grand engineering edifices have taken place or health care delivery services have been achieved without doctors and nurses! In other words, Edo people should not be certain that schools, hospitals and roads built presently would last for a while. Or shall we also say that Mr. Obaseki who is the head of Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s Economic Team is not aware that engineers, doctors and nurses have been employed by Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s administration?
This is the point at which Edo State and Nigerians have arrived at ground zero. Governance finally died literally in the land. This is probably the first time in living memory that a would be successor to the governor’s throne is totally removed from the government in which he serves in an attempt to shield despair and despondency etched on the faces of the citizens.
Obaseki’s major gaffe came from his latest voyage in the media titled: “Obaseki unfolds agenda” by one of the national dailies. “One thing that this government has started that the people will not see until two years time is electricity. Government has encouraged people to come and generate electricity for Edo. As we speak, our investors have started building big electricity plants across the state that will generate about 450 megawatts each. The total electricity we consume in Edo is about 100 but these people are building a plant that will generate 450 each. So by the end of 2017, we will have enough electricity for Edo”, the aspirant stated.
The above statement by Obaseki is replete with vagueness. It falls short of educating Edo people how many of such power generating firms would be churning out 450 wattages. If his arithmetics is correct through equitable distribution it means Nigeria currently generates 3,700 megawatts. Can you spot the difference between South Africa which produces around 240,300 gigawatt-hours (865,000 TJ) electricity annually with a population of barely 53 million according to 2011 demography. Most of this electricity in South Africa is consumed domestically, but around 12,000 gigawatt-hours are annually exported to Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and other Southern African Development Community countries participating in the Southern African Power Pool.
If we want constant power supply that can sustain heavy industries, the minimum standard across the country should be in the neighbourhood of 1,000 mw for every one million people. Edo State at the last count is presently estimated to be inhabited by nearly five million people. Therefore, Edo State needs as much as 5,000mega watts of electricity. On the average, it will a cost nothing less than $5 billion.
How many megawatts is Obaseki envisaging and how long will it take Edo State to get there in the very unlikely event that he becomes governor? Where is he getting the investors that will invest such amount of money in Edo State when the people are extremely wretched with very high rate of political unrest and uncertainty in the land? Where is Mr Obaseki’s blueprint for the transformation of the education and health sectors for the State? Will it be out of place to alleged that a certain godfather is out to foist fraud on the people?
You can clearly understand the problem with Nigeria state and the governing process. For Mr. Obaseki to say he would bring constant electricity to the state, shows that he clearly doesn’t understand the rules and operation of electricity in Nigeria. One of the major problems facing Nigeria with power( electricity) is the central control which is listed in the Exclusive list. Mr. Obaseki knew that if Edo State should build a power plant producing 450 megawatts each by non-existent companies as he claimed, it is not owe by the state and her people.
Now, this. Why did Obaseki feign ignorant that his unaware that electricity generation is not for the states? Why did he not nationalise the need to decentralize power generation, distribution and supply if deception is not at the heart of it? If not for political ends why should Mr. Obaseki claim that the Azura Power Plant located in Edo State belongs to the state government, something everyone knew belongs to the federal government? Shouldn’t Mr. Obaseki have remonstrate on the pertinent of states generating electricity, credit itself first with the supply, and what is left should then be sold to the national grid? Could it be that he knew that the people are gullible and sought to take advantage of it? Can it be said that it is an intentional move to deceitfully mislead the people he intend to govern?
One of the falter flaws of Mr. Obaseki’s minders’ defence is akin to a filmic, a man falling off a skyscrapers; suddenly a fire engine rushed to the scene and position itself beneath the falling man’s head, then the roof slid back! They have refused to accept the fact that the old order which we fought and thought had destroyed itself with the coming of Adams Oshiomhole has resurfaced. All the certainties of political emancipation, its heroic possibilities and buoyant optimism for a new order has evaporated. Now, Edo electorate are being told, like the biblical children of Lot not to look back, lest they be turned into a sack of salt!
Erasmus Ikhide, social commentator writes from Lagos Nigeria.
Follow him on Twitter @Erasmus_Ikhide.